Japan beat Samoa 28-22 to keep World Cup hopes alive

Oct 03, 2023

Japan kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup on Thursday as they beat Samoa 28-22 in front of 31,794 fans at a hot and muggy Stadium de Toulouse.

In a tight first half, good breaks from Lemeki set up Pieter "Lappies" Labuschagne and Michael Leitch for tries, with Rikiya Matsuda adding the extras to both from out wide and adding a penalty for good measure.

2023 09 29 michael leitch japan samoa sr

But Samoa kept themselves in the game through a penalty by Alai D'Angelo Leuila and a try by Seilala Lam, as the teams turned around with Japan leading 17-8.

It could have been closer, though, as it was only rugged defense by the Brave Blossoms that kept the Samoans from making the most of their considerable advantage in terms of possession and territory.


Michael Leitch told Mail Sport's Croqued Monsieurs: "As the World Cup has gone on we have grown and are improving as a team.

"There is a lot of pressure on the Argentina game, not just for us but them as well. If we win, it is a new history for Japan, being able to win overseas and get to the next stage. That would be an incredible achievement. But we just have to focus on next week’s preparation, be consistent and play well against Argentina."

Watch Leitch in the latest episode of Croqued Monsieurs - an alternative Rugby World Cup diary.